US President Donald Trump threatened to impose a 10 percent tariff on US$200 billion of Chinese goods, escalating a tit-for-tat trade war with Beijing, Reuters reports.
In a statement on Monday, Trump said he had asked the US trade representative to identify the Chinese products to be subject to the new tariffs. He said the move would be in retaliation for China’s decision to raise tariffs on US$50 billion in US goods.
“After the legal process is complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced,” Trump said.
Washington and Beijing appeared increasingly headed toward open trade conflict after negotiations failed to resolve US complaints over Chinese industrial policies, lack of market access in China and a US$375 billion US trade deficit.
On Friday, Trump said he was pushing ahead with a 25 percent tariff on US$50 billion worth of Chinese products, prompting Beijing to respond in kind.
The Chinese response clearly angered Trump. “China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology. Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong,” he said.
Trump said if China increases its tariffs again in response to the latest US move, “we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another US$200 billion of goods”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed China’s trade practices as “predatory economics 101” and said statements by Beijing in recent weeks that it was moving to open its economy were “a joke”.
In remarks to the Detroit Economic Club on Monday, Pompeo said China’s theft of US intellectual property “is at an unprecedented level of larceny” and he had raised the issue in talks last week with China’s President Xi Jingping.
China has long denied US charges that Chinese firms have stolen ideas and software or forced firms to turn over intellectual property as part of the price of doing business in China.
Pompeo said excess Chinese steel and aluminum production had flooded the market and suppressed global prices for the metals, making it hard for American companies to compete.
“This is predatory economics 101, and many other countries have recognized this,” said Pompeo, “President Trump is now working to re-shift this balance.”
“Chinese leaders over these past few weeks have been claiming openness and globalization, but it’s a joke. Let’s be clear: It’s the most predatory economic government that operates against the rest of the world today. This is a problem that is long overdue in being tackled.”
To critics of the Trump administration’s trade tariffs, Pompeo said: “Just ask yourself: Would China have allowed America to do to it what China has done to America?”
– Contact us at [email protected]